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DIY: Do It Yourself
Post here to share or improve your wrench turning skills! All BMW E46 DIY tips, tales, and projects discussed inside. Learn to work on your car and know the right BMW parts you will need!

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Old 09-19-2008, 02:57 AM   #1
sillieidiot
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DIY: Changing Xenon Bulbs on all e46 models (except 04-06 coupes)

Ok guys, I figured I would just make a DIY for this since I was making a DIY thread on a different subject. Plus I was getting questions on how to do it, and I guess it's hard to picture it for some people. I couldn't do a video this time, since the headlight is actually outside of the car. So just use this as a guide/visual aid to what you'll be trying to do. It's rather easy.

***Note: Follow this at your own risk. I am not liable for any damages or injuries that may have resulted or caused by this DIY.***

Tools needed:
- A pair of brand new bulbs (d2s is the size)
- Latex gloves (or any other kind) - It's not really needed, but I would have it to keep you from accidentally touching the bulb
- Small hands LOL (if you don't have small hands, i would consider moving the headlights forward or take them out to make life easier on you)



First, you would want to take off the plastic back cover that keeps the dust and other harmful stuff out. It's just held on by a tab and 2 little prongs. If you were doing it on the car, you would push down on the tab, remove it away from you, and pull up.





Here is what the cover looks like:



Next you would remove the igniter. It's a black/red piece connected by a couple of black wires (which are connected to a module inside the headlight). To remove, all you need to do is twist it a quarter turn to the left (or to the right if you are working on the car). Then pull straight out.

What it looks like from the back:



From the top:









Next would be to remove the bulb holder (which is a black plastic ring pretty much). Same thing with the igniter, quarter turn to the left (or right if you're working on the car), and then pull straight out while holding the bulb in place with a finger. Else you'll damage the bulb or drop it.







As you can see, there's the word "Top" on the bulb holder to tell you which way the holder should be facing when you put it in, so you don't have to guess.



To remove the bulb, just pull straight out, carefully else you're going to break the ceramic return wire (which will greatly reduce the bulb's life). There's very little room in there, so be careful.



Well there you go, we are halfway done. Most people will just stop their DIY here and just say do the reverse. It's not really a complete DIY i guess lol, but I thought I'd just keep going for the sake of answering questions that will arise from that.

To put back the bulb, carefully push it back into the headlight. There are 2 notches (one is a square, the other is circular) to line it up to. Also make sure that the return wire (the ceramic tube you see running along side the bulb) is facing down.

Here's a picture of the projector and the 2 notches:


While holding onto the bulb with a finger (like when you took out the bulb holder earlier), put the bulb hold back in. Make sure the word top is actually on top. There are slots here for the bulb holder to go in, so when you get it in, you will feel it come down, then turn it right (left if you're working on the car) and you will feel it "click."

I couldn't take a picture of that like I did when taking it apart, but here is what it should look like when you're done:


Next push the igniter back on. You probably already noticed it, but the igniter itself has some slots/notches that go onto the prongs on the bulbs. push that on, and turn it right (left if you're on the car), and it should click into place.



Finally, put that dust cover back on. Slide the 2 prongs into the slots on the headlight, and click it in. And you are done.



You can thank ASAed330 for the DIY. Even though he didn't ask for it LOL
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Old 09-19-2008, 05:34 AM   #2
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Very nice!!!! Thanks for sharing, I'm sure it will be very useful to many members
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Old 10-04-2008, 12:45 AM   #3
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Exactly what I needed! Thanks!

By the way, silly question but are these bulbs something that must be purchased at the dealer or would an autoparts store have them?
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Old 10-04-2008, 01:21 AM   #4
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you can buy them from one of our vendors here. an autoparts store wouldn't have them, and the dealer will rip you off like no other lol.
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Old 10-04-2008, 01:21 AM   #5
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Quote:
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Very nice!!!! Thanks for sharing, I'm sure it will be very useful to many members
thanks, i hope it will as well.
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Old 10-11-2008, 01:52 PM   #6
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Thanks for the info it will come in handy
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Old 10-25-2008, 11:36 PM   #7
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Good job..... very detail explaination. This will help me later to replace the H7 stock 4300 (yellow) hid with the new H7 aftermarket hid 6000k.
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Old 10-25-2008, 11:38 PM   #8
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^ you should probably look at my other prefacelift one (the one showing how to take apart the headlight). the high beam side of that one will help you with taking off the bulb holder. you will still need to modify the bulb holder so that the wires for the H7 HID bulb can pass through.
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Old 02-16-2009, 08:37 PM   #9
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is it really different for sedans and coupes? seems the same to me..
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Old 02-16-2009, 08:51 PM   #10
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I would think it is the same for a sedan and coupe. Great diy. I was able to it without removing or moving my lights fairly easily and I have big hands
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Old 02-16-2009, 08:52 PM   #11
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pretty much all the other e46 models are the same, coupe or sedan. the facelifted coupes, however, are slightly different. all it is, is that the cover is different, and how the ignitors look. the movement, procedure is pretty much the same. i just did this DIY since people kept asking me what it looks like and stuff like that when i keep telling them it's the same lol
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Old 02-16-2009, 09:18 PM   #12
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ohh ok thanks
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Old 03-08-2009, 05:55 PM   #13
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Does anyone know if you have to remove the headlight? I have an 05' and need to replace the bulbs, but do you need to replace, I haven't really looked in the engine bay but I know on an e36 I could do it with the headlight on.
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Old 03-08-2009, 05:58 PM   #14
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Click my sig for the diy vid for changing bulbs.
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Old 03-08-2009, 06:03 PM   #15
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Wow old but very night thread
this is basically the same thing as a facelift coupe, same general idea, however you are able to do it from the back of the bulb which must make it a lot easier

I have to do mine from the top

Good thread
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Old 03-08-2009, 07:13 PM   #16
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Quote:
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Click my sig for the diy vid for changing bulbs.
lol, i thought this IS the DIY for changing bulbs..


oh wait u said VID. nice
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Old 03-09-2009, 12:14 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mujjuman View Post
lol, i thought this IS the DIY for changing bulbs..


oh wait u said VID. nice
lol yea this is. but there's another one for the facelift coupe lol. i try to put the year in the title so people don't get confused. yet people still manage to go in the wrong thread
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Old 03-12-2009, 12:42 PM   #18
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Fantastic thread Sillie. Extremely helpful. Thanks very much.
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Old 03-12-2009, 05:40 PM   #19
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you're welcome.

hmm i just noticed i have some piece of paper there in the first picture. i'll edit that out now.
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Old 11-16-2009, 11:00 PM   #20
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I changed mine to 6000k today and the passenger side's rubber boot is a PITA to put back on. Like 2" between the ignitor and the wind shield fluid reservoir. I'd have taken the whole thing out but I don't have my tools at school
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